The spectacularly picturesque and virtually traffic-free grassland routes that connect lonely settlements in the sparsely populated west of the republic are lined with sacred mountains, nomads’ yurts and newly raised stupas. The area is likely to start getting more visitors after Russia and Mongolia complete the reconstruction of the Khandagaity–Borsho border crossing, so it can be used by everyone, not only nationals of the two countries.
The route looping round to Abakan from Tuva via Askiz is scenically varied, often beautiful and mesmerisingly vast in scale, though the Chinggis Khaan stone near Ak-Dovurak is virtually the only real ‘sight’. While independent travel is feasible, you’ll see a lot more in Tuva’s west in the company of a local or a guide hired in Kyzyl. The Sayan Ring agency in Krasnoyarsk comes this way. The Yenisey federal highway (R257), which begins in Krasnoyarsk, is now being extended from Kyzyl to the border.